Shelley and I took the opportunity this year while on vacation to get some photos taken while in Punta Cana. Below are just a few choice shots, but the full album can be located here.
It’s has again been another successful summer vacation to the Dominican Republic.
It started out with an uneventful flight from CVG to PUJ. Both couples (Wykle’s and Nolting’s) have traveled multiple times to the same resort complex (Grand Palladium) in Punta Cana and knew the routine by heart. The shuttle from the airport to the resort was about 30 to 45 minutes which included a few other drop offs before arriving at our destination. At check-in we were processed by a very nice gentleman named Jose. He was quick and efficient and we both received “upgrades” to better rooms.
Both couples separated and proceeded to unpack and planned to meet prior to dinner. Once reconvening it was apparent that the upgrades were not the same. We had both booked to stay in the Palace. Shelley and I received a loft suite in the Palace, but the Nolting’s were moved to the Royal Suites. The Royal Suites the “all adult” section on the Palladium resort. It has more amenities and has a dedicated pool that only allows people 18 and older. After this revelation, Shelley and I proceeded back to the front desk to now have a nice discussion about our ability to move with our friends to the Suites.
After 45 minutes of friendly (yet persistent) discussions and pointing out several times that we are repeat customers (3 times) to the Palladium resort, Jose agreed to meet us in the middle. Due to considerable price difference (and our unwillingness to pay said difference) between the Palace and the Suites, he was unable to give us a “complementary upgrade”. He was able to relocate our room to an ocean view in the Palace. In addition to the room move, we finagled the coveted “gold” bracelet that allowed us unfettered access to all the Royal Suites benefits. We were able to eat in the Royal Gourmet restaurant and hang at the Suites “adults only” pool. This was a nice compromise (upgrade) and did make the entire vacation even more enjoyable. Thanks Jose! Here are a picture from both our room and pool side.
The first week seemed to move at a nice pace; relaxed and casual. Andy and I had the opportunity to impress the Europeans with our awesome football passing skills while the girls logged many hours of sun worship, reading, and swimming. Each afternoon (~4PM) the pool would typically liven up as people migrated from the beach and landed at the pool for pre-dinner drinks. We befriended a number of people from Germany, UK, Canada, and US.
The full album is located here.
In keeping with last year’s promised tradition, I created another “Wykleville – year in review” scrapbook. I took most of the posts from Wykleville as the foundation and added many additional photos. Given the success from last year, I used Blurb again to produce the book and FotoFusion as the software creation tool. I upgraded to the “Extreme” version of FotoFusion in order to the full double page layouts and higher resolution. I also used Microsoft Autocollege product that to produce a few of the picture collages (soccer and gymnastic pages).
This year I did something a bit different on the front and back cover. In an effort to capture the look and feel of the Wykleville site, I wanted to duplicate the website layout on the book’s cover. I tried a few different methods to screen capture the site from the web browser, but was not happy with the results. The outputs from this method were quite low in resolution and would have looked crappy in the printed high resolution end product. The only alternative I could find was to create the site fully in a graphics program (Gimp). I’ve been using Gimp for many years. It is a free and open source program that mimics many aspects of the extremely expensive Adobe PhotoShop. This took a few hours of manual creation time, but I think was well worth the extra effort. This will allow me to remember the progression of the Wykleville site’s layout and design.
You can check out the finished product by clicking on the icon below…
This post is horribly late. Shelley and I attended her first holiday function with her coworkers from Randall Cooper High School. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the departmental basket give-a-way. We were not lucky enough to land a win, but fun was had by all. Below are a few shots from the evening’s events.
Today was another momentous day for the Wykle family. Many firsts were accomplished today.
- Shelley started a new position at Cooper High School as a full-time Chemistry teacher.
- Eli started kindergarten at his beloved Little Red School House.
- Natalie caught the school bus from home instead of suffering the “before & after school care” program at the local YMCA.
Here were a few shots from the Goodridge “open house” hosted on 08/18.
At the day’s conclusion, all were happy and excitedly discussed their productive “firsts”!
“The Tradition Continues”
This post is definitely late given that we returned from Punta Cana on July 18th. Busy times lead to prioritization of efforts…the Wykleville blog has taken a back seat. Needless to say, the trip was a hit! As can be seen in the above picture, only two couples (Wykles and Noltings) from the 1st annual adult vacation were able to make it. The Robertsons had family related issues that precluded them from attending the 2nd annual trip. However, in an effort to keep the tradition alive, a flat version of Tina and John made the trip. The “Flat Robertsons” had a blast also! You can see their escapades in a separate photo album here.
Given the great success of last year’s trip, the group decided to return to the same resort Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort and Spa in the Dominican Republic. The resort was the same and the weather cooperated perfectly, with only 30 minutes of total rain fall during our 7 days. The following pictures are a few shot from our first evening in Punta Cana.
Before leaving the mainland, we decided that we would again go on the Saona Island excursion due to the immense fun that we had last year. We were not disappointed, as the trip proved again that it was a nice distraction from the daily resort laziness. Our videographer turned out to be the same guy from the previous year. Ricardo claimed to remember us from the previous year…I’m not completely convinced, but it made for a cool instant connection.
This year we decided we would try and venture out and meet some other vacationers. We were quite successful and met many nice Canadians and a group of brothers from England. Here are a couple of pictures of our new vacation friends.
Conclusions – The second year was as memorable and delightful as the trip last year. We left the island vowing to make the trip again next year. The 7 days of rest and relaxation is therapeutic for both Shelley and I. After 11 years of marriage and kids, it is easy to loose ourselves in the day to day grind and forget about what made us who we are. Love, fun, and sun for us all!!!
In an effort to continue documenting the life and times of the Wykles, I decided to take a stab at producing my own “blog book”. I wanted to take some of the more important post from the Wykleville site and document them in a book form. I also wanted this to be a surprise for the Shelley as a Christmas gift. After seeing some very neat samples online, I went and researched the different companies that provide book production. I settled on using Blurb after reading many positive reviews and a one week turn around. Blurb has their own free software that is required in order to upload the book. It also has simple production tools and upload the book. I found the software a bit limiting and not allowing me to achieve the effects that I was after. So I expanded my search and found FotoFusion. It is a nice piece of software that met my needs. After a free trial, I found that it was quite powerful and easy to use. It allows you to easily crop, rotate, and re-size the photos. It also has many different photo frames allowing you to create different looks for each of the pictures that you drop in. Finally, the front and back cover was created with a Microsoft Autocollege product that takes a folder and creates a nice college of pictures.
I created each page in FotoFusion and then drop them into the Blurb software in order to upload the finished product.
You can check out the finished product here.
Another year has passed and our birthday season has concluded with Shelley’s 35th birthday. The festivities kicked off early with the present unveiling on Friday afternoon. She was quite surprised to find a brand new Dell computer (Inspiron 530s) with 19″ widescreen LCD. On Saturday morning (officially her birthday) she received many kisses and the compulsory birthday cards. One card played the “chicken dance” and the other played the “hamster dance”. The new musical cards are quite fun and the kids do enjoy them so much. Eli even performed his artistic dance impression of the hamster dance. The birthday was concluded with a dinner out at O’Charley’s.
Just updated Picasa with pictures from Natalie’s Birthday and the recent snow storm. Check here.
12″ – 15″ of snow fell over the last two days. This is the most snow to fall in Northern Kentucky in the last 35 years. As you can see the kids had a blast playing (stumbling) in the snow.